It’s a daffodil garden. Walk through the yard in February or March, and you’ll see hundreds of daffodils, the result of their amazing habit of splitting their bulbs in two each year for the past 16 years. There are at least fifteen different types, and this year new varieties are going into the ground.
But wait! In April and May, it’s an iris garden. These wonderful plants spread by multiplying their rhizomes, and if the gardener is diligent in dividing them, the same effect happens as with the daffodils. Iris, iris, everywhere! Some are gifts from friends, some are from trading my extra irises, and others are from my addiction (which I still insist I can quit at any time) in purchasing new ones when I see a bargain. They are everywhere, adding fragrance in virtually every corner of the flower beds.
No, no; by June it’s a daylily garden. Interspersed with the daffodils and 60 types of irises are scores of daylilies, blooming their hearts out….if they had hearts…and surely they must!
So really, what type of garden do I really have? It could be called a weed garden, if sheer numbers of plants counted — I hope not.
There is no easy answer. It depends on the season. Later in the summer, you might call it a blackeyed-Susan garden. These cheery perennials were added when we saw that the garden needed something else as the daylilies stopped blooming.
This spring, we even planted some ornamental grass and a couple of holly bushes to give the garden some winter interest, along with a nice “Color Guard” yucca. The white lights that stay on the central cherry tree all year are intended to give the impression that this is a winter garden….well, I won’t go that far. It’s pretty dead out there in the winter. But I’m learning and growing in my efforts toward a year-round landscape!
God’s nature should be like that in our lives. People should be able to see God’s love in us when they need love. They should see mercy and grace when they need it from us. Those around us should feel the warmth of God’s compassion when it is needed. They should also hear truth presented, “in season and out of season” (2 Timothy 4:2, NKJV).
Considering what is needed at any particular time isn’t easy, but it’s important horticulturally. Spiritually, it is vital! It can make all the difference between someone lingering nearby as they breathe the “aroma of Christ” instead of leaving the presence and influence of the church because we focused on a few things to the exclusion of others.
While irises will always remain my favorite, I will never have an “iris garden.” There is so much more to gardening than one or two favorites!
Similarly, there is more to our relationships with others than a couple of platitudes and a few proof texts. We need to carefully consider what is needed by others on an individual basis, and be there when the need is there — with biblical, loving solutions; or at the very least, a shoulder to lean on.
“And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works” (Hebrews 10:24).
What would make my winter garden better? The answer is elusive, but not really impossible. It might even differ from another gardener’s answer.
Our interactions and influence on others may sometimes seem as challenging as the winter landscape, but the same thoughtful contemplation is needed as we strive to create the beauty of God’s love around us.